In front of a record-breaking crowd – that Head Coach Charlie Strong called ‘amazing’ – the Louisville Cardinals took the field for the first time in one of two public practices.
The intensity & excitement were abundant, however things were a bit different from previous years. Tempo was one of things more present than in years past. Practice seemed more fast-paced than it ever has been for Louisville Football.
“It’s different [the pace] just because of your team. They have confidence now,” Strong noted. “Just with their different rankings, you know players, they’re gonna read into that. But their a very confident football team now.”
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater said he had been looking forward to this day since we took the pads off on the Spring’. It shows. Bridgewater was very active and vocal out on the field, an area that Bridgewater has made a point of emphasis this off-season.
“My role has changed a little,” Bridgewater stated. “Last year, I kinda set back and tried to be a leader, this year I am being a leader. That vocal guy on the sideline. I’ll correct the guys if they run a bad route or drop a ball.”
Charlie Strong was fairly pleased with the opening practice, but says ‘sharpness’ has to ‘pick up’ a little.
Gerald Christian, Matt Milton, Lyn Clark, Richard Benjamin, James Quick and all newcomers were receiving lots of attention, but clearly the focus was on new RB transfer Michael Dyer. Charlie Strong, Teddy Bridgewater both stated that it was a difficult to gauge how effective Dyer will be, however, Senior LB Preston Brown already seemed to have a good idea:
“It was good to see him out there, he’ll be an asset to the team,” Brown said. “It was good to see him get some reps. He was out there against us a few times. It was good to see how he reads holes and cuts and stuff.”
Gotta be excited about this kid. It was just shorts and helmets, but Dyer surely appeared to be great shape and was upbeat (shaking heads, clapping) the entire practice.
The Cardinals will host their final open practice on Wednesday from 5:15-7:15. It will be your final chance to see the Cardinals until their opener against Ohio.
Additional News & Notes:
-Clint Hurtt was on field and active. Strong says despite no decision from NCAA, they ‘allowed him to come back out and he’s just working on the field’.
-Keith Brown did not practice, expected to miss a decent amount of time.
-LB Preston Brown: “Even though they can rank us as high as they want to, we’re still hunting everybody we play.”
-I came away most impressed with CB Charles Gaines. He appeared stronger and more crisp than ever. He’s appeared to have taken a teaching role as well; constantly ‘coaching up’ younger players.
-Charlie Strong: “With the money being made right now…we gotta find a way where we can just pay players. Eventually I think it’s gonna happen.” The momentum for this continues.
-LB Preston Brown said that the New Orleans product Lyn Clark impressed him the most of Freshman. ‘He really had a better tempo than the rest of those guys, he really ran to the ball and knew a lot more than the other freshman.’
-Most importantly: Football is finally freaking here.
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